The Metro Manila Development Authority of Thursday urged a week-long closure of cemeteries during the observance of All Saints and All Souls Days on November 1 and 2 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, an MMDA official said.
“May recommendation na kami na one week isara ang mga sementeryo. Iyong sa dates, inaantay na lang na maaprubahan ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force),” said MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia.
(We have a recommendation to close the cemeteries one week. We are just waiting for the dates to be approved by the IATF.)
“Puedeng [it could be] October 29 to November 4 or October 28 to November 3,” Garcia added.
Likewise, he encouraged Local Government Units to establish more specific guidelines, like Marikina City’s plan to open its cemeteries but only at 30% capacity before Undas.
“Ayaw naman po natin na isang barangay ang sabay-sabay na pupunta kasi baka magka-mass gathering po. Sana po may isang miyembro na lang ng pamilya na dumalaw, magtirik ng kandila, at sa bahay na lang po ipagdasal,” Garcia said.
(We do not want a barangay to go simultaneously because there might be a mass gathering. I hope there is only one member of the family to visit, light a candle, and just pray at home.)
MMDA wants week-long closure of cemeteries
The MMDA manager also noted that the gradual flow of visitors in cemeteries could also provide jobs such as selling flowers and candles and cleaning graves.
Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez, chairman of the Metro Manila Council, earlier said all mayors in the capital would like to create a unified policy for the observance of All Souls and All Saints Days 2020.
Currently, only the cities of Manila and Mandaluyong have released orders for a temporary closure of cemeteries during Undas to avoid crowding and prevent the spread of the disease.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno earlier decided to close all public and private cemeteries in the city during the Undas 2020 holidays, from October 31 to November 3.
Meanwhile, Mayor Menchie Abalos has approved the temporary closure of cemeteries in Mandaluyong from October 30 to November 2.